Australian Greens leader Christine Milne and Deputy Leader Adam Bandt today are introducing new food labelling laws into the House of Representatives and the Senate to help Australians support Australian farmers and be confident about buying food produced in Australia.
The Competition and Consumer Amendment (Australian Food Labelling) Bill 2012 will put in place new countries of origin rules for food labelling based on where food is grown or produced, rather than where it is packaged or processed.
"Australians want to know where the food they buy to feed their families is actually grown, but they know they can't trust current 'Made-in' labels," Senator Milne said.
"Farmers are also being duded by current labelling laws, because they are not based on where the food is grown.
"We need to bring our food-labelling law under the Consumer Act where it belongs and base the labelling criteria on the food's country-of-origin.
"Country of origin labelling will be good for farmers and good for consumers."
"Cheap imported food can masquerade as Australian grown and compete unfairly."
"People don't know when they pick up a can of tomatoes with generic labels from Woolworths or Coles where the tomatoes in the can were grown - that is what people want to know and current labelling doesn't tell them that."
"Something is very wrong with our labelling laws when a company can import cherries, glace them and package them up and label them as Australian Made," Mr Bandt said.
"We know that Australians want to support Australian farmers and, when they can, buy and eat food grown in Australia. Our bill will help consumers make those choices."
The Competition and Consumer Amendment (Australian Food Labelling) Bill 2012 will:
- Enact Recommendation 41 of the Blewett Review, by creating a specific section in the Competition and Consumer Act that will deal solely with country or origin claims with regard to food.
- Enact Recommendation 42 of the Blewett Review, that country of origin labelling for food should be based on the ingoing weight of the ingredients and components, excluding water.